Size: 30,828 acres
Location: Socorro County
Eco-Region: Arizona-New Mexico Mountains
Conservation Values: Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Donated Conservation Easement
Date Completed: May, 2004
The Montosa Ranch is located approximately 15 miles west of Magdalena between the Gallinas Mountains to the north and the Plains of San Augustin to the south. The property is near the Very Large Array of radio-satellite dishes (operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory) and the Cibola National Forest, and is noted for its prime habitat for elk and other species and for its scenic beauty. The property is comprised primary of mixed pinyon-juniper woodland and savannas, interspersed with occasional Ponderosa pines and Gambel oak at higher elevations. Elk, mule deer, pronghorn, wild turkey, black bear, mountain lion, bobcats, coyotes and fox are known to occur on the property as well as a variety of birds including golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, Gambel’s quail and mourning dove.
Through an interesting partnership between the landowners, NMLC and a conservation-oriented landscape architecture/planning firm, the Montosa Ranch is now protected forever as a working cattle ranch that includes an innovative conservation development consisting of seven carefully sited homesites. The property adjoins the 95,000 acre Double H Ranch, owned by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, to the north and approximately 300,000 acres of Cibola National Forest land to the east, thereby contributing to a much larger protected landscape. B.W. Cox, the original donor of the conservation easement, is a lifelong cowboy who has worked on cattle ranches in Arizona and New Mexico since he was in his teens. He and his wife, Billie, first acquired the ranch in 1989 and developed an intense love for the land and a sense of place. The Cox’s did not want to see the Montosa Ranch succumb to the same fate as so many other family ranches throughout New Mexico and the West. “Billie and I love this ranch. We want it to always be a cattle ranch, not have it someday carved up into 40-acre ranchettes that are becoming so common. A handful of homesites and the conservation easement make that possible.”